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Crowds Excited That New Pope Has Been Chosen

posted 13 Mar 2013, 11:49 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 13 Mar 2013, 12:34 ]

Jubilant crowds in St. Peter's Square wait patiently for their first glimpse of the new pope after white smoke pours from the chimney on the Sistine Chapel.

VATICAN (MARCH 13, 2013) (REUTERS) -  Crowds of thousands of Roman Catholic pilgrims from around the world cheered and waved flags in the air at St. Peter's Square on Wednesday (March 13) evening as white smoke billowed from the roof of the Sistine Chapelsignalling the election of a new pope.

They had gathered in the square throughout the day, sheltering under a sea of umbrellas from the incessant rain, waiting to see if the next pontiff would be from their country.

"Happy, happy to be here in this moment and to be able to see - it's the first time in my life I've been able to see something like this," said one elated Italian woman in the crowd.

The decision by 115 cardinal electors came sooner than many faithful expected.

The name of the new leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics was announced later in the evening. Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected pope and took the name Pope Francis.

The secret conclave began on Tuesday (March 12) night with a first ballot in the Renaissance splendour of the chapel and four ballots were held on Wednesday. The white smoke indicated the new pontiff had obtained the required two thirds majority in the fifth ballot.

Following a split ballot when they were first shut away amid the chapel's Renaissance splendour on Tuesday evening, the cardinal electors held a first full day of deliberations on Wednesday. Black smoke rose after the morning session to signal no decision.